Falling in love at the SLC Fall Pet Super Adoption at the Utah State Fairpark

At the Fall Pet Super Adoption, held at Utah State Fairpark in Salt Lake City over the weekend of October 18, 368 dogs and cats were adopted and an additional 41 dogs and cats were transferred to rescue groups who will adopt them out, for a total of 409 animals saved. Most pets there were the picture of health; their only "issue" was that they were homeless through no fault of their own. There were also some animals requiring more specialized care who were looking for homes.

Shih Tzu and Maltese mix down on his luck

Shih Tzu and Maltese mix named Doc at the Salt Lake City Fall Pet Super AdoptionDoc entered the shelter system with three strikes against him: he has chronic dry eye, an enlarged heart, and he is a senior. Salt Lake County Animal Services knew his needs were beyond their resources, so they reached out to the rescue community to see if someone could take on this special dog. As luck would have it, Best Friends Animal Society-Utah had room and took him in.

"Doc came to us about three and a half months ago," shares Tiffany Deaton, adoption and foster coordinator at Best Friends Animal Society-Utah. "We really wanted the Shih Tzu (and) Maltese mix to find a warm and loving home to let him live out his life comfortably with the individualized care he needs. In his foster home, we discovered he has limited vision and a severe dry eye condition. We started him on a strict medical regimen. He saw an eye specialist who determined he didn't need surgery, but did need constant medication."

Adopting a special-needs dog

While perusing the hundreds of available dogs and cats vying for her attention at the Fall Pet Super Adoption, Anna Ortiz couldn't get Doc out of her head. She was looking for a nice, low-key dog who could fit in with her family. She wasn't sure if they would be able to care for a special-needs dog; they had never had one before. But her mind kept going back to Doc, so she decided to give him a try.

"When I saw Doc, I saw he was older, and he really needed someone to be his family," says Anna. "He is so sweet and wonderful; he just needs someone to care for him. I don't understand how someone could have abandoned him."

Well, the Ortiz family, thanks to Anna, gave caring for Doc a try, and it's been a match made in heaven ever since. "He's been great - he's really not a problem at all. It's no big deal caring for his special needs, and I'm so grateful to Best Friends Animal Society-Utah for giving us our new best friend."

"Doc's adoption was a great reminder of why we work so hard to do what we do," enthuses Tiffany. "Each of these animals is an individual, and sometimes it can be hard to see that as we work day to day. But with each adoption and each animal, we work so hard to find them the perfect home and to find the perfect animal for each family. When we get to make those matches, it is a huge reward."

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Photos by Kim Raff and Best Friends staff